(Ok, ignore my cheesy post title. My house is a little too hot and I haven't had my second cup of coffee.)
I do not clean well or often. I probably should at least care a little more about cleaning, but there is little reward in cleaning a house where children live. In fact, I'm fairly certain a house with children does not WANT to be clean. Perhaps my lack of cleanliness is just an attempt to give the house what it wants. Yes, that puts an altruistic spin on my domestic shortcomings.
The house's preference aside, my three children each have their own particular way of encouraging the uncleanly state of the house. Let's start with the youngest and work our way up:
First there is my Moose: He is 15 months. He is the tiniest of us all. He has little baby hands that lack dexterity, and he could trip on a dust bunny if it was sticking off the carpet just far enough. But he does the most mess damage in the house by far. If the living room is clean in the morning he must make a beeline for the nearest game within reach that has the most pieces and dump it everywhere. Living room: check. Despite his sometimes clumsy walking, he climbs on the table now effortlessly so nothing is safe, there are few places to put things so he can't dissect, rip, and generally destroy them. He can de-cap markers and has a strong proclivity for coloring on things that I don't consider appropriate writing canvases: the chair, the floor, the couch, my arm. These types of things.
But his absolute worst damage is meal time. I can clean the dining room floors to a spotless sheen (not that I would, but for the sake of argument), and as soon as he eats you would never know I cleaned at all. The boy doesn't communicate well when he doesn't want a food item, so where a simple "no" would suffice he prefers instead to throw all undesired food on the floor. Sometimes he even uses his arms like windshield wipers to more efficiently remove food from his tray. Ingenious, that one.
We don't have ants in the house yet, but I imagine we are at Amber alert for an invasion in the near future. I caught one single ant in the house yesterday and I wasn't a kind hostess. He wasn't a bad ant, but you know how social ants can be and I didn't care to meet all his friends. Not that my ant control attempts matter much, what with the tiny ant sized sign outside our house that says, "TODDLER INSIDE: Free buffet for the foreseeable future".
Also, my husband and I marvel at how we can give my Moose a tiny spoonful of something like peanut butter and thirty seconds later there is more peanut butter on his shirt and hands than we gave him to begin with. I swear he multiplies it. I don't know how, though I suspect saliva is part of the magic trick.
But let's move onto my middle son. He is my outdoor boy, so of all the children he tracks in the most sand, mud, etc. And its not just the floors...the tub actually seems to be revolting from all the sand the children have deposited into it by refusing to drain properly. So there goes the motivation for cleaning the tub. And with all the going inside and out and outside and in my son is constantly changing shoes, which I find strewn all over the house. How does he have so many shoes? Why don't they match half of the time? My middle son also prefers toys that are "sets"...you know, train sets, duplo sets, puzzle sets. Things that have many pieces and must take up a whole section of floor or table and sometimes must remain set up for...well as long as we can keep the baby Moose from destroying them. And I can't very well vacuum under a train set, can I?
But I digress. My oldest, and only daughter, is perhaps the least messy, although she is also the least likely to be a willing participant in cleaning up anything. But I have this against her: glitter. Oh yes. The glitter usage seems to have increased dramatically of late, so if you see us out and about all bedazzled in sparkle I assure you we are not trying to be ostentatious. Aside from glitter, my daughter enjoys writing and coloring and drawing about everything, which I honestly love, except for the part where I don't know which papers belong in the recycle bin and which I would regret throwing out till my dying day. The sheer quantity of papers is a bit alarming. And she is only in Kindergarten, so I expect that our paper problem will likely get worse.
Anyway...now you have it. The three smallest big reasons my house remains rather untidy. But don't they look so clean and cute in the mirrors? I thought so too.